Dialogue between China and the world

International Forum on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era

by Sibusiso R Bakana

8 November 2021

The eighth edition of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is due to be held in Dakar, Senegal, from 29-30 November 2021. The theme of the conference will be “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on 5 November, he said that the meeting would “review and assess the follow-up implementation of the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit as well as the joint China-Africa response to Covid-19, and chart the course for China-Africa relations for the next three years and more to come.”

As the Forum of China Africa Cooperation is to be hosted in Senegal towards the end of November 2021, Chinese and global scholars met for a different interest in strengthening multilateralism through sharing of notes in particular on how the world scholars view socialism with Chinese characteristics, while Chinese scholars emphasized it from a scholarly party line perspective.

The dialogue was hosted by the Academy of Xi Jinping on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era (academy) housed at the Renmin University of China, literally translated as the Peoples university. The academy was founded in line with the instructions of the central leadership, which forms the requirements of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, its predecessor is the Research Center for Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era that was established in October 2017.

The main task of the academy is to implement the plans of the CPC, carry out the robust study, publicity, research, and interpretation, vigorously mainstream in classrooms, and minds, also energetically promote the construction of relevant disciplines and personal training on President Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

On 27 October 2021, Professor Jin Nuo, Party Secretary of the Renmin University Committee of CPC, President of the academy and professor in the school of Marxism studies, opened the dialogue with the role that the academy plays in setting the scene as a platform for researchers and an environment where experience is shared of both the CPC and the world. She emphasized the role of young people in shaping global governance and why the academy is a great platform, particularly for emerging youth researchers. She concluded that unity is paramount and as the world is interconnected, working in isolation cannot mitigate any challenges, but cooperation for humanity can unite the world, as no country ever achieved anything in working individually.

Among the participants of the dialogue were Martin Jacques from Cambridge University, Robert Kuhn, Chairman of The Kuhn Foundation, Gustavo Girado from the University of Lanus, Alexander Lomanov from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lamin Kpaka at Association of Community Social Volunteers International from Nigeria and our South African expert in Africa-China studies from University of Johannesburg, David Monyae.

Jiang Hui, Vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, indicated the ideals of the CPC in developing China as a newly developed modern country that is characterized by economic civilization and emphasized that the civilization he implies should be coordinated in politics, economy and ecology. He further pointed out that the poverty elimination by the CPC is not that it was the requirement by the party, but by both the party and the people of China, hence this elimination of poverty in China marks a historic, well-coordinated effort.
Robert Kuhn entered the dialogue echoing that contemporary China has been growing with tasks not parallel to the world and in history. As China also wants to position herself fighting against climate change, Lamin Kpaka viewed the robust fight against climate change by China as China Eco-civilization and pointed out howit is greening itself while staying conscious of its sustainable development goals and targets. He quoted President Xi when he said Green is the new Gold.

Sibusiso R Bakana is Research Associate at Afro-Sino Centre for International Relations (ASCIR), President SASCA, and Representative of the Diplomatic Society in China. He writes in his personal capacity.